Feb 24, 2017

Pictures of the Week

This first picture is such a good representation of the personality of the puppies. Scout is curled up close, whining about the cold while Shiloh sits up straight, facing difficulties head on.

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This is a toddler version of eating in the car. We have had some unseasonably warm days and the kids have been loving it. They even played in the sprinkler one day last week.

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Occasionally I get bored when the kids are doing school. So I do things like this:

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Feb 21, 2017

Review Crew: Home School in the Woods

I love history, but my kids... not so much. So I need all the help I can get to spice it up. I usually just keep our history pretty simple with lots of literature, but occasionally I like to pull out a little hands-on project that is fun and interesting. Right now, that interesting project is HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages from Home School in the Woods.

We have used several of Home School in the Woods' projects before, so I am excited to tell you that Project Passport is rapidly expanding. They already have four ready to purchase: Renaissance and Reformation; Middle Ages; Ancient Egypt (we reviewed this one); and their latest, Ancient Greece. And Ancient Rome is in the works (due to come out in 2018)!

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

We received a computer download that contained an overwhelming lot of resources. You have everything you need right there on your computer for you to examine and to print. However, I find it easier to click on the Start button which takes me to the information on the Internet. The advantage here is that everything is laid out for me in sequential order. 

Beginning with a "how to", some quick tips, an overview, some extra resources, and a bibliography, the site has everything you need linked up in the order you need it. I find it super easy to plan our way. I click links, print off what I want, make notes of what I need to return to as I teach, and simply click away from the bits that don't interest us. 

And if there are things that don't interest you, it's ok, because there are plenty of other things to do! In fact, there is simply no way to do all the things you find in Project Passport.

Each lesson is called a "Stop" and there are 25 of them. For each Stop there is an Itinerary, which is your instructions for what to print, what to do, and all the information you need to know how to do it all. The instructions are divided by project, so you can easily tell what you need to do based on the projects you picked to do. This keeps you from any unnecessary work or confusion. The Itinerary is easily my favorite part of the program. I don't print these, because I plan way in advance and I don't need to, but you easily could if you need the reference away from your computer.

Each Stop also contains a Guide Book Text. This is a page or two of information tells you the actual history you are meant to learn. It is just a basic overview, so you can stop there, or you can use it as a jumping off place to delve deeper into any part that catches your child's attention. The student can read the Guide Book Text off the computer or you can print it off for them to put in their notebook and read. I read them aloud to all of my kids at once, which is not only a time saver, but also allows us to discuss as we read.

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Next, are the links to the PDFs of the projects. Each project is clearly marked by type. There are projects for you to put into a scrapbook, projects for a lapbook, projects that are good for taking pictures of your student, edible projects (yummy!), games, 3-D projects, active projects, postcards, writing a newspaper, and some audio "tour guides" for you to listen to. Some of the projects fit more than one type, of course.

Now, although each Stop is a lesson, you do not have to do an entire Stop in one session, nor do you have to limit yourself to one Stop at a time. The best plan is to have several Stops ready to go and just keep working until your student is ready to stop. My kids tire of guided projects quickly, so we would just do a couple of things each day. This made our progress slow, but that's okay because it was also steady!

And that brings me to how we used Project Passport in our homeschool. As I mentioned before, I plan a few Stops in advance. This means I look over the material and print as needed. When we are ready to work, I start by reading the Guide Book aloud for everybody, leaving room for questions or comments. Then we work our way through the projects I have chosen to do. Our favorite projects are the timelines and the maps.

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We are also writing a Medieval Times Newspaper, making stick puppets, and have plans for making Meat Pie, Herb Bread and Fyne Cakes. The kids have enjoyed reading postcards from Kubla Khan, King Theodoric and other famous people from the Middle Ages. The audio tours are another big hit.

We are thoroughly enjoying HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages. There are so many options for things to do! We are taking our time and absorbing all the fun from each and every one. We highly recommend not only Middle Ages, but all the products from Home School in the Woods!

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Feb 16, 2017

Valentine's Day

We did do school on Valentine's Day. Mostly since we had just taken an unplanned week off. But we managed to squeeze in some celebration, as well. The girls made cards for each other and for us and for friends. 

Daddy brought home flowers for all the girls and chocolate and cupcakes for everyone. We also had pizza for supper and watched Dr. Strange. Kaytie made peanut-butter fudge hearts and strawberry popcorn.

Our tradition on Valentines is that I get the kids chocolate and then write clues for them to find their "treasure". I made them go outside in the freezing cold so I could hide the chocolate and clues.

They have gotten so old that they had no trouble deciphering the clues that led them all over the house.

It was a fun day even if we did have to waste the morning doing school!

Feb 8, 2017

Little Artist

Abbie has long been a fan of Duck Dynasty. A couple years ago, she was particularly fond of Uncle Si, convinced that he was her "real uncle" because they were both "so hilarious they had to be related!" The boys gave her a Duck Dynasty cup for Christmas a few years ago. 

Recently, the logo pretty much totally rubbed off, so she decided to fix it. Armed only with a sharpie, she drew a new Duck Dynasty design on her cup...

I think she did an amazing job!

Jan 30, 2017

Fine Arts Is The Fun Part

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Welcome back to the Virtual Curriculum Fair, led by Susan from Homeschooling Hearts and Minds. Over the past few weeks we have talked about

How We Learn

Playing with Words

Discovering Patterns

Exploring Our World

and we are finishing up the Fair today with Seeking Beauty.

This week we are talking about Fine Arts and anything else that brings Beauty to our homeschool. I am not a creative, artistic person. I don't draw or paint or craft or sew. I create stuff. I don't know how to make music. The arts are not my strength. It's not that I don't enjoy beauty, it's just not something I am good at creating.

However... my kids, they can. They do art so well they don't even need me. They think it is the fun part, not only of school, but of life.

Kaytie is constantly creating. She spends her free time in some sort of artistic endeavor. She writes stories. She draws. She paints. She plays the piano. She choreographed a dance to dance for us for Christmas. She does not need my help. I try to keep her supplied with paper, canvas, pencils, paints and lots of good feedback. For her, fine arts is the very breath of life.

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Daniel and Abbie both do art on their own as well. They don't do it as often as Kaytie, but they enjoy a good afternoon of drawing, painting, sculpting with clay or creating with playdough on a fairly regular basis. Again, I try to keep them in supplies and stay out of their way except for applauding their efforts.

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Nate is not as artsy. But he can play some piano and is attempting to learn the guitar. He is more into coding as his art form. He also enjoys photography.

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For actual schoolwork, our Fine Arts lean more toward the Charlotte Mason method. We do "art study" with copies of pictures. Currently we are "studying" Monet although the Impressionists are not my favorite. We read and memorize poems because we enjoy it. We sing together to learn hymns. Occasionally, we even listen to classical music although none of my children really appreciate it. (I don't mind, I didn't either when I was their age. They'll grow into it I expect.) All of these activities take place in our Morning Meeting time.

All of my children have had piano lessons. We are currently without a teacher, but I make them practice daily anyway. They are expected to play through the songs they know.

They have also all taken art lessons offered by a graduate homeschooler. Because outsourcing your weaknesses can be truly awesome for everyone!

We aren't currently using a lot of products in our pursuit of Beauty, but some of our favorites from over the years include:

Art Achieve  our review is here

Artistic Pursuits (our review)

Kwik Stix

Maestro Classics (our review)

Classics for Kids

Ambleside Online

Great Musicians Series

Spotify  and Pandora are great places to find classical music

my kids like to find tutorials on Youtube, but of course, you want to be supervise this

Now I invite you to visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about seeking beauty in their homeschools:

Links will all be live by Monday at 12 noon EST.
Living & Loving Art by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Putting the Fun in School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Art Fun In Our Homeschool by Amanda @Hopkins Homeschool
Fine Arts Is The Fun Part by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Washing Dust Off Our Souls by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Bringing Beauty Into Your Homeschool Through Poetry by Dana @ Roscommon Acres
Seeking out the beauty... by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Joy in Home Education by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Teaching Drawing (When You Can't Draw) by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Homeschool Art for the Artistically Challenged by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Jesus, Peace, Freedom & Our Homeshool by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos
Fine Arts Options in High School by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Reluctant Artist? What do you do? by Annette @ A Net in Time
Making Fine Arts a Priority by Lisa @ McClanahan 7
Creative Pursuits by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Arts and Crafts in Our Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Where Do You Find Beauty? by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Looping our Beauty Topics Saved our Homeschool by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

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Jan 23, 2017

The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History

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Welcome to the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair! The fair, led by Susan at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds is a group of homeschool mom bloggers sharing inspiration, encouragement and, hopefully, a few fresh ideas to brighten up the "blah" month of January. In the past few weeks we have talked about

How We Learn

Playing With Words

Discovering Patterns

This week we will be Exploring Our World.

One of our biggest struggles in our school has almost always been history. A fact I find strange since history is one of my favorite things. Not just as a school subject, but as a life-long hobby. As a kid who loved to read, historical fiction was my absolute favorite find and I would devour any that I could find.

I expected that it would be easy to pass this love on to my kids. Even from the very beginning I planned that I would teach history as I learned it, through story. So we read a lot of historical literature even when they were little. Yet, much to my astonishment, they were not inspired.

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We tried just stories. We tried Story of the World. We tried Ambleside Online. We tried A Child's History of the World. We tried lots of projects. We tried not doing anything at all. We tried lots of random stuff. But nothing seemed to engage them like I hoped.

So now I have given up on them loving history like I do. And I just teach it like something I love and they need to learn. And our method is very simple.

I start with a list of  literature books that submerge them in a story of someone's history. Right now, for instance, we are reading A Single Shard. They are greatly enjoying the book and are deeply engaged with Tree-Ear and Crane Man's story. They don't even realize they are learning about 12th century Korea, the history of pottery, and a host of character building extras.

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Secondly, we read a lesson from Mystery of History every day. We recently started Vol. 2. We discuss it as needed.

Finally, I throw in whatever projects seem appealing and applicable as we have the time. Time-lines, maps, color pages, notebooking, dramatizations, hands on recreation of art or science. I try not to overwhelm myself with a lot of advance preparation but just to do stuff as we feel comfortable getting it done.

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I like to gather resources and ideas to have on hand and I jump at opportunities as they present themselves. For example, we are currently reviewing Homeschool In The Woods' Project Passport: The Middle Ages.

And that is pretty much it. It might not be their favorite subject, and they might not be enthralled by it, but they are still learning history just the same.

Our History Plans Landing Page if you want to see what we have done in the past.

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Exploring Our World this week:

Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.
Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Social Science, Science and Exploring our World - Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Learning History Through Fiction by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road
History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Beyond the Books - Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time
Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully
What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres
What A World by Jennifer @ A Piece of Mind

And if you have an Exploring Out World post to add, feel free to link up below!


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